Doing Qualitative Research: Designs, Methods, and Techniques

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9780205695935: Doing Qualitative Research: Designs, Methods, and Techniques
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Examine qualitative research as evidence-based stories of social life.


Doing Qualitative Research shows how qualitative research is evidence-based stories of our social life.


By the time readers complete this book, they will be able to conduct their own research and understand the pleasures and perils of qualitative research. This text is ideal for classes in disciplines such as cultural studies, anthropology, political science, ethnic studies, women and gender studies, the media, journalism and communications, organizational behavior, and more.


Learning Goals

Upon completing this book, readers should be able to:

  • Assess others' research and develop their own research
  • Understand the scientific method, broadly defined and adapted to understanding human beings
  • Analyze with a critical and reflexive style of research — readers should understand how their own lives affect how others are seen
  • Link theory and research
  • Understand the macro-micro linkages created by qualitative research


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Thank you to the following reviewers:


Amy Leisenring San Jose State University Todd Migliaccio California State University Sacramento Chantal Tusher Georgia State University Keith Mann Cardinal Stritch University Jan Buhrmann Illinois College Liahna Gordon California State University Chico


“This text is very comprehensive and includes topics not often found in other qualitative research methods books (i.e. social autopsies, multi-method designs). It thoroughly covers a lot of important "background" and theoretical information also not usually covered in other texts (i.e. history of qualitative methods, politics, etc.).”

Amy Leisenring, San Jose State University


“The writing style is very clear, engaging, and effective...The authors have a deep knowledge of their subject and synthesize them very effectively.  The exercises are very well conceived and seem to be very effective in the learning of course material.”

Keith Mann, Cardinal Stritch University


“I like the fact that the authors do a lot of comparing and contrasting with quantitative approaches (which I feel is useful), and I also like the fact that they include a number of interesting and relevant case studies, which will help hold students' interest while they're reading, and also provide some good 'jumping off' points and examples to consider during class discussions.” 

Jan Buhrmann, Illinois College


“I like the separation of design and method.  I like that there is a discussion of the politics of research. I like the examples based on research that has already been conducted and with which academics and grad students might themselves already be familiar.”

- Liahna Gordon, California State University, Chico

About the Author:

Greg Scott

Greg Scott, Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the Social Science Research Center (SSRC) at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, received his doctorate in sociology in 1998 from the University of California at Santa Barbara.  From 1995-2000 he served as Director of Research and Associate Director of the Illinois Attorney General’s Gang Crime Prevention Center where he conducted and supervised primary and evaluation research on community prevention and intervention programs. 

Since arriving at DePaul University in 2000, he has conducted quantitative, qualitative, and ethnographic research on injection drug use (hepatitis B vaccination clinical trials, syringe-facilitated HIV/AIDS transmission, opiate overdose, and the network impact of sterile syringe exchange efforts, safer injection) and on the relationship between street gangs and the reintegration of ex-offenders.  Between 1990 and 2001 Greg conducted extensive ethnographic fieldwork on drug-dealing street gangs, immersing himself in the world of illicit heroin and cocaine commerce.  In 2001 he began to examine the "demand and use" side of the drug market.  At this point he took up living with homeless and precariously housed injection drug users, habitual crack smokers, sex workers, burglars, thieves, and drug dealers.  Greg has become an independent documentary filmmaker, concentrating his efforts on the social, economic, cultural, political, and health issues facing illicit drug users; he produces training films for health professionals and laypersons in order to contribute to safe injection practices and overdose prevention as well as social documentaries to educate the public and policy makers on the lives of drug users. He is making a documentary called “The Brickyard,” a feature-length film on a West Side Chicago encampment of homeless people among whom Greg has lived and worked for the past 7 years.


In 2005 Greg established a non-profit organization ("Sawbuck Productions") whose mission revolves around creating and producing multi-media educational and political materials concerning the well-being of illicit drug users.  Recently, Greg began using his films as a catalyst for organizing a social movement in Chicago, Chicago Area Network of Drug Users (CANDU) whose goal is to create the city's first-ever "drug users' union” to improve the well being and life chances of illicit drug users.  

As well as conducting ethnographic research and producing doc films and radio documentaries (and trying to keep up with his teenage son Ben), Greg teaches upper-division courses on ethnographic filmmaking, substance use and abuse, public health and high-risk behavior, and urban cultural research.  Greg also runs the Social Science Research Center (SSRC) at DePaul University.  To find out more about the SSRC’s work and Greg’s involvement in the enterprise, visit the website (



Roberta Garner

Roberta Garner is a professor of sociology at DePaul University; she earned a PhD at the University of Chicago in the late 1960s, coming of age in the sixties between the Beatniks and the hippy/Baby-boom generation. Her PhD dissertation was based on 250 life narratives of first generation college students, and since then she has conducted qualitative research in the Italian school system and written (with a colleague and grad students) a mixed qualitative-quantitative study of Midwestern high school students’ aspirations, school engagement, and perceptions of their schools. 

She has traveled extensively in Europe and Latin America and was field director of four DePaul Study Abroad trips and programs. She lived in Italy in 1979 during a period of intense political activism there, in Budapest, Hungary in 1984 in the waning years of the socialist era, in Merida, Mexico in 1986,  in Florence, Italy in 1987-88 (where she used a “parent-as-researcher” method to write about schooling in Italy), and most recently in Paris.
Her interests include political sociology, urban sociology, sociology of youth and education, and sociological theory; and she enjoys teaching stats and methods courses. She was one of the six editors of The New Chicago (Temple University Press, 2006), a collection of essays that explored changes in Chicago in recent decades, including the making of a post-industrial economy, the impact of immigration, and gentrification and displacement in the inner city. Recently she co-authored (with Black Hawk Hancock) a book on contemporary sociological theories (Changing Theories: New Directions in Sociology, U. of Toronto Press) and translated (from French) an interview with Loïc Wacquant about his experiences as an ethnographer, a critical reflexive theorist in France and the U.S., and an apprentice boxer engaged in carnal sociology (published in Qualitative Sociology in 2009).  As you will see when you read the book, she is open to both qualitative and statistical methods and is enthusiastic about integrating research and theory.

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